Archbishop Graubner blessed the newly opened St. Agnes Community Center

27. 9. 2023

Archbishop Graubner blessed the newly opened St. Agnes Community Center

On Tuesday, September 26, Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner blessed the headquarters of the Prague Caritas on Londýnská Street in the Vinohrady district of Prague, which underwent a complete reconstruction. The ground floor of the building now houses the new Community Center of St. Agnes, enhancing the charity house’s openness to the public.

The ceremonial gathering was initiated with opening remarks by Jaroslav Němec, the director of the Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague. He expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the challenging project, specifically acknowledging the Prague 2 municipal district, the City of Prague, and the local parish whose representatives attended the opening. „The reconstruction started before the war, before COVID, and its progress was marked by long struggles. Thanks to all who helped us bring this work to a successful completion. We have the experience that when Caritas, the parish, the municipal district, and the City of Prague collaborate, the goal is always achieved,“ said Jaroslav Němec.

Barrier-free facilities for charitable services

The renovated five-story building on Londýnská Street once again serves as a base for various charitable social services. The International Development Center, which organizes the Child Sponsorship Programme and other development projects in India, Uganda, Zambia, Belarus, and other countries, has also returned. During the house’s festive opening, its director, David Flak, emphasized the building’s barrier-free design and listed the services of the Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague located there: Senior Care Service, Magdala Counseling, assisting people experiencing violence in close relationships, counseling for migrants and refugees, coordination center for the Three Kings Collection, and the newly established St. Agnes Community Center for families with children in unfavorable social situations and for people from different socio-cultural backgrounds.

The construction costs were funded by the Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague through a European grant within the Operational Program Prague – the Pole of Growth, proceeds from the Three Kings Collection, and donations from private donors.

Experiencing God’s presence through charitable assistance

Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner also expressed his gratitude to all those involved in the reconstruction. He reminded everyone that besides providing help, Caritas emphasizes interpersonal relationships. „Jesus leads us to see him in every person in need. He offers us help, acceptance, and forgiveness, and wants us to pass it on. We receive so that we can be useful to our neighbors,“ inspired the archbishop those present at the Caritas.

In a brief prayer, he asked the Lord to bless all those who would work in the house and those who would come to it so that through Caritas assistance, they may experience the closeness of God’s love: „Our God, merciful Father, through your son Jesus Christ, you have invited us to participate in your love. Look upon those who have decided willingly to provide assistance to those in need. Bestow your blessing upon them, may the spirit of true community, friendship, and help prevail here. Be close to all responsible persons who will contribute to the spirit of this center, and may they, through the example of their lives, nurture genuine personalities in the youth.“

One-time assistance is not enough

Archbishop Jan Graubner then visited each office, consulting room, classroom, and the practice kitchen, which is part of the Community Center. He blessed the spaces and spoke with the Caritas workers who awaited his visit at their workplace. In one of the classrooms of the Community Center, he peeked into an ongoing creative workshop for children.

Archbishop Jan Graubner has a close connection to Caritas. After the Velvet Revolution, he was tasked by the Czech Bishops‘ Conference to revive its activities in the country. He traveled abroad for experience during that time, and he reminisced about that period during the tour of the Community Center.

He emphasized that it is necessary not only to provide one-time assistance to the poor and needy but, more importantly, to teach them to cope with more complex life situations on their own. „In France, what struck me was that one of the main projects was working with the socially disadvantaged, teaching them to manage a limited family budget. Caritas taught them to plan, buy groceries, and cook. This is useful even in our time. Caritas can help people prepare quality meals with little money,“ reflected Archbishop Jan Graubner at the practice kitchen, where cooking courses will soon begin.

Help those who are in need

„One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed.“ (Proverbs 19:17)

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  • funds food aid and shelter for those who are in need,
  • supports social services for seniors, people with special needs, families in need, victims of domestic violence and those who have found themselves in a life burdening situation
  • supports education for disadvantaged children in developing countries.

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The St. Agnes Community Center was established thanks to the Operational Program Prague – Pole of Growth (project registration number: CZ.07.3.56/0.0/0.0/20_076/0001647).

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